Sværeskaret Hiking Trail
Travel along old trade routes to a mountain lake
- Destination: Sognefjord
- Season: May-October
- Difficulty: Medium
- Distance: 4.8 kilometers (out‑and‑back)
- Elevation Gain: 130 meters
- Duration: 2-3 hours
The Sværeskaret trail follows an old trade route up to the mountain lake Skarvatnet near Torsnesstølen in Gaularfjellet. The trail through Sværeskaret to the Sognefjord was the most important route to transport livestock before the road over Gaularfjellet was built in 1938. Now it is a popular hike for locals and visitors.
This trail shares a parking lot and trailhead with the Fossestien Waterfall Trail.
Coming from Sunnfjord, follow Norwegian Scenic Route Gaularfjellet (Road 613 from Moskog or Road 610/613 from Sande) towards Balestrand.
The parking lot is on the south side of the road about 5 kilometers from Utsikten. Look for the signs for Fossestien/Torsnesstølen.
The trail is marked from the parking lot.
Follow the gravel road south and take a quick detour down the rock path to your left to the “Mirage” well. Top up your water bottle with the fresh mountain water and rejoin the gravel road. Continue south on the road towards Torsnesstølen, crossing the bridge over the Gaula River.
Pass the signs for Fossestien, and continue between the old houses at Torsnesstølen. Follow the signs towards Skarvatnet and Sværen. The terrain is fairly even and not too demanding. When you reach the cairn at the top, the valley opens in front of you with Skarvatn Lake surrounded by blueberry heather in the center. Have lunch or a snack at the water’s edge, before following the same trail back.
If you wish, you can also continue further along the lake to the southern side to find a memorial stone for Hugleik Trøen who died in a snowstorm while passing through the valley in 1706. The trail here is a lot more uneven and challenging.
A yet longer and more challenging hike continues further down to Sværedalen and the Sværafjord. The toughest part of this hike is the 750 meter descent along the steep trail down towards the fjord. This longest alternative is about 8.5 kilometers, point-to-point.
- The trail to Sværeskaret follows a trade route used for hundred of years before the road over Gaularfjellet finally opened in 1938. Local farmers brought several hundred cows and sheep through the steep canyon every year, taking them to markets in Bergen or to the cities in the east. Down by the fjord the animals were transported in boats over the wide Sognefjord.
- The well near Torsnesstølen is an artwork called “Mirage” by Marianne Heien. This well is one of ten, with the other nine in villages in Malawi.
- There are toilets at Utsikten Viewpoint, 5 kilometers east of the main trailhead
- Free parking
Where to stay
Hov Hyttegrend offers cabins and facilities for tents, as well as shuttle services to Fossestien every morning in the high season.
Flatheim Farm is a traditional B&B. They offer comfortable beds and facilities for camping, as well as guided trips and a summer café with local refreshments.
Near Sande on the the Sunnfjord side of Gaularfjellet, Villa Åmot offers a unique cultural experience. In Jølster and Førde you will find both self-catering apartments and hotels.
Questions or comments? Let us know.